Iceland Day 11, July 31 – Our Troll Encounter

Day 11, July 31st

Today we make it to the amazing–and isolated–western fjords.

One constant are the churches beside isolated houses.  Many have graveyards and seating for about 100.  But we’re here on Sunday and we haven’t seen anyone at services!

1_church

Tough driving here–the road seems to drop off right into the fjord in some places– up close and personal!  

We took a break at an area that was famous for seal watching–no seals, lots of birds, and I found a big waxy glob at the edge of the water.  Very strange stuff.  Maybe ambergris?  I couldn’t convince anyone in my group so I’m taking a tiny bit and maybe I can find someone who can tell what this is.

2_ambergris

The terns were very agitated by our intrusion and proceeded to dive bomb us.

3_bird

We saw no chicks but heard a lot of chirping.  They were hiding somewhere.  So, we moved on before the parents had a heart attack.  

As we moved along the coast we noticed big logs–nor just driftwood but trees–peppered the shore in this area.  Another mystery.  They were bleached white and obviously had floated in.  But where did they come from since there aren’t any trees here?

16_logs_from_siberia

We stopped fro lunch in Holmvik and found we had landed in Iceland’s witchcraft central.  A harbringer of things tro come…

4_museum
4_museum_a

Finally, we made it to Hotel Malar Horn in Drangsnes.  A really cute place but I feel like I’m in LegoLand.  The building is put together with tongue-and-groove wood at all the corners.  Pretty ingenious.

5_hotel

We are at the end of a fjord so winds are coming across the coastal ledge at about 60 mph.  The gulls nest in the western cliff and performed aerobatics–banks, hangs, stalls,–to land, not smash, into their nests. We also saw a flock of puffin fly by (they nest on the nearby island).

 Outside our door is Troll Rock…a seemingly innocuous hunk of lava fin.  The story on the marker said trolls were playing in the area when the morning light caught them by surprise and the girl troll was turned into this rock and she now overlooks her ox (oxen can be trolls too?) which became the island off shore.

9a_rock

This town seems to have a very strong connection to Trolls and Elves and they may be a force to reckon with….Most of the homes have tiny troll houses and gnomes- guess they’ve learned not to tick them off!  

9_troll_houses
10_troll_garden

I don’t know specifics of these beliefs, but I think one, or both, had a hand in the afternoon’s events…

Jim drove in with the Land Cruiser clicker, then it went missing. This could be a problem in ordinary cars.  Toyota– and the rental car company– have taken this to a new level of disaster.

–  the fob (clicker) is required to unlock the doors

–  we only have one fob as we travel 17 days around the island

–  even better, the fob must be IN the car to engage the push-button ignition

– we only have one fob (guess I already mentioned that)

– oh, and have I mentioned, we’re in the Western Fjords…in the middle of NO WHERE on Shop Keeper’s 3-day weekend.

 Bottom line:  we don’t know where this remote is, and we aren’t going any where without it…as we sit on the edge the world.

So we are trying to figure out how to recover from this…do we lose our next few hotel reservations while we wait for the rental car company to drive a replacement from Reykjavik?

Will this blossom into a missed plane home?

Not to over play the suspense…Jim found the fob at the top of the hill, on the edge of the cliff, overlooking the Atlantic, sitting in the middle of the grass.  It was like a not-so-funny practical joke…Trolls and Elves must have chuckled all night long!  But, all’s well that ends well….

7_keys
9_troll_rock

 With keys safely stowed, we toured the town, accompanied by a local black cat (of course) that thought she was a dog 

9_climbing_gnome

And found the geothermal hot tubs overlooking the fjord.  

9_bath

Plus, after all the flowers we’ve seen, we finally found Icelandic poppies.

17_poppy

 Dinner was relatively uneventful…HOWEVER we began the meal with a celebration of our victory over the Trolls’ antics…an Icelandic tradition–dried, salted, putrified shark (Hakari) followed by Black Death…I can tell you (thankfully) I didn’t get sick from this, but I fully expected to unleash my supply of Cipro in the morning…. Want more details?  The shark tasted like a wad of something soaked in ammonia.  Just the worst!  Fortunately, the Black Death chaser was tasty…Brennivin schnapps.  It was amazingly good just by comparison.  Served ice cold in a shot glass, it tasted a bit like caraway.  So now that I’ve painted a bleak picture, I will add:  if you’re in Iceland.  YOU’VE GOT TO TRY IT!

Alberta

 

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